While the recent budget has been hailed as having something for everyone, it is also being seen as a series of missed opportunities.
‘The pandemic came hot on the heels of our worst-ever bushfires. Land management and restoration could have been a centrepiece,’ Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive, Chris Gambian said.
‘This budget was also a chance to reimagine the economy by putting it on a new energy footing.’
This sentiment was also reflected by local MP Justine Elliot (Labor), and Greens MP hopeful Mandy Nolan.
‘This budget is a shameless political fix, rather than the genuine reform needed to make Australia’s economy stronger, broader and more sustainable,’ said Mrs Elliot.
‘Despite spending almost $100 billion and racking up a record $1 trillion in debt, the Morrison government’s budget reveals real wages will go backwards.’
‘The coalition appeared to give the people money,’ Ms Nolan told The Echo. ‘But there’s no money for social housing, although there’s money for the private sector via the First Home Loan deposit scheme, which doesn’t do anything about housing affordability.
‘There is more money for coal and gas, with billions of our tax dollars being pumped into exploration in the Galilee Basin. Oh, and $100 million to clean the ocean! That’s the equivalent of building two roundabouts at a busy intersection. It’s barely a drop in cleaning the ocean.’
A key point was the failure of the coalition to adequately fund aged care, particularly following the Royal Commission.
‘The dollars for aged care are, only just, more than what they’ve taken out,’ said Ms Nolan.
Mrs Elliot pointed out that ‘Even in the face of a damning Royal Commission, the aged care package falls short of the Commissioners’ recommendations.’
The failure to address the culture of rape and domestic violence, the ongoing corruption that surrounds rorts, corrupt land deals and the failure of the vaccine rollout were also raised.
‘After eight long years of job insecurity, weak wages growth, neglect, waste, and no action on climate change, this budget is another missed opportunity,’ Mrs Elliot said.
‘After breaking our trust with rape culture and a failed vax roll out, it’s a budget meant to win our vote, not move us towards social and climate equity,’ said Ms Nolan.